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Showing posts from 2010

Julian Assange Interview With Cenk Uygur.

From all the recent Assange interviews I’ve seen, I would recommend this one with Cenk Uygur- essential viewing.

Here is the transcript of the interview.

Portion of Transcript:

"CENK: Well Julian I want to get to as much as possible here so I want to give you a chance to respond one by one to your critics, first to Mitch McConnell who is of course the leader of the Republicans in the Senate and to Joe Biden who both said that called you a high tech terrorist how do you respond to Joe Biden the Vice President of the United States saying that to you?

JULIAN: Well let's look at the definition of terrorism, the definition of terrorism is a group that uses violence or the threat of violence for political ends now no one in our four year publishing covering over 120 countries has ever been physically harmed as a result of what we've done. Now that's not just us saying that, that's the Pentagon saying that, that's NATO and Kabal saying that. No one, not a shred of ev…

Speeches in Support of Wikileaks.

Here is a series of speeches in support of Wikileaks, from rallies held at Sydney Town Hall on the 10th and 14th of December, 2010.

Greens Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon, Sydney on Friday 10 December.

This speech is by Keith Dodd, an American IT worker. Again, 10th of December.

Green Left Weekly's Simon Butler, 10th of December.

Professor Stuart Rees, Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, addresses a crowd in Sydney for the second rally in support of Wikileaks and Julian Assange held on Tuesday 14th of December.

I Found this speech particuarly interesting. Director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism Professor Wendy Bacon addresses a crowd in Sydney for the second rally in support of Wikileaks and Julian Assange held on Tuesday 14th of December.


More can be found here. And here.


Remember: Next Rally for Wikileaks in Sydney, 15th of January, 1pm at Town Hall.

Wikileaks Rally, Sydney.

This clip is of a protest in support of Wikileaks in the Australian city of Sydney, on the 14th of December 2010. I was present at the march. You can see quite clearly that the police started to attack the protestors after blocking their path off the road. There is another protest in support of Wikileaks planned for Sydney on the 15th of January, at Town Hall at 1p.m. This is an extremely important issue. Whatever reservations one might have over specific wikileaks releases, this case will be a defining moment for freedom of information and freedom of press in the information age. Wikileaks did not steal or solicit classified documentation; it merely published the material in collaboration with mainstream media outlets. It is a media organization and should be protected from persecution.


Sign this online petition against any extra-judicial campaign against Wikileaks and to support due process and the rule of law.

The Australian group 'Get Up!' has organized a campaign to bu…

Carbon, Tradable permits and Pigouvian Taxes.

The Stern Review of the Economics of Climate change has identified greenhouse gas emissions as the greatest market failure in history. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are a leading cause of climate change and have been targeted by government and non-governmental organizations as an area of grave policy concern. Policy proposals to ameliorate CO2 emissions have centred around two broadly based methods: “ economic instruments” and “command and control regulations”. The adoption of economic instruments to regulate the problem of CO2 emissions can entail either the introduction of market mechanisms to price emissions and allocate the right to emit limited quantities of CO2, or price-based instruments such as tax regimes and subsidies. Command and control regulations are policies that involve direct government interventions into the forms of practices surrounding CO2 Emissions, from technological standards to performance targets. The mainstream economics literature on policy instruments…

Marx and Keynes: The Problems of Unemployment and Crisis.

Marx's analysis of capital was an attempt to uncover the fundamental laws of motion that govern the capitalist mode of production. Marx differed from many of his contemporaries in that he conceived of capitalism as necessarily dynamic and incapable of homeostasis . This resulted from a complex array of factors, the ultimate source of which is the need to produce surplus-value. Marx claimed this amounted to the “absolute law’ of capitalist production. However, the expansionary impetus of capital is not a smooth linear process of growth and the accumulation of capital is subject to recurrent interruptions and crises. Marx argued that this tendency toward crisis arises from the competition between capitalists and the success of prior accumulation. In apparent contradiction to Marx, Keynes formulated a theory of effective demand that explained economic fluctuations and downturns in terms of insufficient aggregate demand. For Keynes, the causal factor that leads to below capacity econ…

Marx on Religion.

" The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man – state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

Religious suffering is, at one and…

Minsky and the Financial Crisis.

Hyman P. Minsky’s “Financial Instability Hypothesis” has received renewed interest in light of the current malaise. Minsky attempted to formulate an endogenous theory of financial instability and in this pursuit he focused primarily on income-debt relations and the negotiation between bankers and businessman. This hypothesis is predicated upon the existence of an intricate and highly evolved financial system operating within a capitalist economy. Based upon this assumption Minsky’s hypothesis is a partial explanation of the current crisis. The scope of analysis presented in the hypothesis does not venture to explain the interconnections between the financial sector and the real economy. The increased relative importance of finance and the process of financialization that underlay the current financial crisis are completely outside of the parameters of the financial instability hypothesis. From the perspective of policy formation, explanations of the crisis in terms of both its proxim…


"When Chiang Kai-shek started his offensive against us in 1946, many of our comrades and the people of the country were much concerned about whether we could win the war. I myself was concerned. But we were confident of one thing. At that time an American correspondent, Anna Louise Strong, came to Yenan. In an interview, I discussed many questions with her, including Chiang Kai-shek, Hitler, Japan, the United States and the atom bomb. I said all allegedly powerful reactionaries are merely paper tigers. The reason is that they are divorced from the people. Look! Wasn't Hitler a paper tiger? Wasn't he overthrown? I also said that the tsar of Russia was a paper tiger, as were the emperor of China and Japanese imperialism, and see, they were all overthrown. U.S. imperialism has not yet been overthrown and it has the atom bomb, but I believe it too is a paper tiger and will be overthrown. Chiang Kai-shek was very powerful, for he had a regular army of more than four million. W…

Notes on the 'Volker Rule' and the Financial Crisis of 2008.

The ‘Volker Rule’, proposed by the Obama administration early in 2010, has generated considerable controversy. The two main features of the ‘Volker Rule’ is: 1) a ban on proprietary trading and bank involvement in hedge funds and private equity funds for their own profit independent of their customers, and 2) the introduction of measures to bar the further consolidation of the financial system. Much depends upon the exact wording of the planed legalization, but the ultimate aim is to rectify issues of moral hazard and to mitigate the systemic treat to the financial system posed by reckless financial operations. In terms of moral hazard, the proposed reforms will attempt to demarcate between speculative financial operations and commercial banking operations which are insured by the public. Therefore, according to the Administration’s position, undue risk will not be insured by the public and the costs of which will remain with those who have generated it, thereby reducing moral hazard.…

Sketches of Historical Capitalism: From The Protestant Ethic to The Capital-Labour Relation.

Maurice Dobb’s commenced his “Studies in the Development of Capitalism” with the question of definition. He argued that quite apart from pedantry, questions of definition and definitional stances “ipso facto” implied the implementation of a “principle of classification” and therefore shape the scope of analysis(1).In reference to capitalism, he identified three major perspectives that applied counterpoised principles of classification and causal explanations of historical capitalism. The first popular approach outlined by Dobb, was that of Werner Sombart who attempted to ascertain the essence of capitalism through an appreciation of the “bourgeois spirit”(2). Max Weber followed a similar approach to the problem of capitalism with the proposed connection between Protestantism and the spirit of capitalism(3). The second position, linked capitalism to the separation of production and retail sale with the introduction of intermediaries. The third conception, and the position taken by Dob…

Wisdom was born of a headache

Wisdom was born of a headache.

Piero Sraffa’s Gesticulation.

The following quote relays an anecdote with regards to Piero Sraffa and his influence upon Ludwig Wittgenstein. I’ve hear of a similar story in which Wittgenstein was supposedly sent into a tailspin over a cyclist’s contemptuous gesture that he felt belied his work in the “Tractatus Logico Philosophicus”. Anyways, here it is:

“Wittgenstein was insisting that a proposition and that which it describes must have the same 'logical form', the same 'logical multiplicity', Sraffa made a gesture, familiar to Neapolitans as meaning something like disgust or contempt, of brushing the underneath of his chin with an outward sweep of the finger-tips of one hand. And he asked: 'What is the logical form of that?'” -Norman Malcolm. Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir. pp. 58–59.

Perhaps I’m mistaken, but Sraffa’s gesture to Wittgenstein is not a proposition. By definition, a proposition is a statement that functions as a truth-claim. Sraffa’s gesture is more akin to a negation and t…

Nostalgia for Bush.

In the New York Times, Stanley Fish has published a piece entailed: “Do You Miss Him Yet?”. The central claim of which is that George W. Bush’s reputation is undergoing a slight rehabilitation. The leading edge of a trend that will see him placed somewhere in between the worst and best presidents in history. This, Fish argues, is the result both of the stabilization of Iraq and the faltering nature of Obama’s administration. In my mind, the only rationale for this ostensive recovery (supposed and not demonstrated) is the same impulse that lead the persona of Milan Kundera’s novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” to declare: “[i]n the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia”.

Nietzschean Affirmations

"If we affirm one moment, we thus affirm not only ourselves but all existence. For nothing is self-sufficient, neither in us ourselves nor in things; and if our soul has trembled with happiness and sounded like a harp string just once, all eternity was needed to produce this one event - and in this single moment of affirmation all eternity was called good, redeemed, justified, and affirmed." —Nietzsche, Friedrich, The Will to Power.

"Albert Camus et le Nihilisme"

I don’t speak French; I have no idea what he is saying. Presumably something to do with nihilism and absurdity, but I find it interesting to see Camus’s mannerisms and hear his voice. It’s odd, having seen photos of him and imagined from that (and his work) what kind of man he was, to see him move.

Seduction and Panopticism

Michel Foucault (2002, p. 343) once wrote: “a society without power relations can only be an abstraction”. In contemporary sociology, the ubiquity of power is beyond contestation and forms a fundamental axiom of the field. Beyond this however, the exact nature and dimension of power dynamics are subject to varied interpretations and formulations. Foucault’s discussion of power, disciplinary society, panopticism, and related concepts offer substantive contributions to further studies of relations and economies of power within advanced capitalist societies. The notion of panopticism has enjoyed particular resonance, and contributed to the development of surveillance studies (Simon, 2005, p. 2). Moreover, Foucault’s metaphoric use of Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon is a standard reference for theorists who advance the “surveillance society” thesis; such theorists contend that the primary mechanism of social control in modern society is surveillance and the internalization of surveillance by…

"People say reading Nietzche (sic) changed me".

"People say reading Nietzche (sic) changed me".
Drawn by Ann Debono, March 30th, 2007.

Update (13/04/2016): some newer stuff from Ann: here.